A New Era…
The Americas are on the verge of a new political revolution. Along with the United States own presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, there has been a similar spur of female presidential candidates in Latin America as well.
Last year Veronica Michelle Bachelet Jeria became the first woman to become president of Chile in Chile’s entire history. She beat her opposition, Sebastian Pinera, last year with 53.5% of the votes. She campaigned on a platform of continuing Chile’s free market policies, while increasing social benefits to help reduce the country’s gap between rich and poor. She was inaugurated on March 11, 2006.
Bachelet is not the only woman in Latin America to go for the presidency. Christina Fernandez de Kirchner is currently Argentina’s glamorous First Lady but is assured to be Argentina’s next president. Her husband, Argentina’s current president, Nestor Kirchner first became governor of a small southern province of Santa Cruz and then became president in 2003. The couple moved to the capital, Buenos Aires, and decided that Kirchner would run in 2003 instead of Fernandez since he had a better understanding of economic policy and was better suited to lead a country that was on the verge of bankruptcy like Argentina was at the time. Under Kirchner Argentina made a remarkable economic recovery and had four straight years of economic growth.
(Nestor Kirchner and Christina Fernandez)
The switching between the spouses of the presidency is claimed by Fernandez to be, “part of an effort to set an example of relinquishing power in a country that has seen too many leaders overstay their welcome at the presidential palace.” However, critics claim that this is only a elaborate scheme to bypass the constitutional ban on being in office more than two consecutive years. Interestingly enough if Hillary Clinton won the presidency next year than it will mark the ruling of the United States by two families for a quarter of a century.
With all these strong women entering the political sphere it is only a matter of time before female presidents stop being taboo and become another common aspect of our societies.